HoTs and DoTs: A Restoration Druid and Shadow Priest

Learning the Wrong Lesson

The first third of Pit of Saron: 5v2

The first third of Pit of Saron: 5v2

I think my tank in yesterday’s Heroic Pit of Saron let me die on purpose to teach me a lesson. And this tank wasn’t completely in the wrong. If rule number one of DPSing is: Manage Your Threat, I was failing.

Disclaimer: Cassandri is a Shadow Priest. I will do, to the best of my ability, what Shadow Priests do best in any given situation. I should also point out that I will focus fire a few select mobs even if the group is too busy AoEing. Because, well, kill the dangerous one first, hey?

I’ve been queuing Heroic Pit of Saron as “Damage” pretty much every day since Patch 3.3 was released. Like Pugnacious Priest, I’m mad for the Nevermelting Ice Crystal. Mostly I just want to play around and experiment with it.

In all that time I’ve seen the trinket drop once and lost it to a Restoration Druid. I know there’s some debate on whether or not the trinket is good for healers… but come on – it’s perfect for Shadow Priests.

I’ve been queuing as Shadow, even though the queue times are crazy long, because I did once queue as a healer and told the 2 casters in the run:

Hi, I’m here to roll on the Nevermelting Ice Crystal if it drops.
If that’s a problem please say so now.

And I felt pretty bad about it. Potentially that’s 4 members of the party all after one drop (assuming you got grouped with 3 casters). And I don’t think that’s fair. So from then on I queued as Damage. Never expecting that I would end up losing to a healer anyway!

Anyway, back to last night’s run. First off, I was grouped with 3 Paladins (1 Prot, 1 Holy and 1 Ret). And a Rogue. I was thrilled. Who else but me would roll for the trinket in this group?

Then we started clearing the trash to the first boss. Wrathborn Laborers, 2 a time. So I started to do what I always do, and what Shadow Priests excel at: applying DoTs to both.

Now if I wanted to boost my damage to maximum I would do my level best to spread my DPS equally over the two mobs. More time alive = more damage done by DoTs. But I’m not that self-serving.

So I DoTed both and assisted the tank to concentrate my direct damage spells on one target. The first target dies, and we all switch to the second. I guess my threat was already pretty high by then because within a few seconds the mob turns around and glares at me. I hit Fade. It turns right back and I walk away without a scratch.

Rinse and repeat. Almost everything comes in pairs on the way to the first boss in PoS. And by repeat, I mean I needed to Fade a few times when I pulled threat. Usually it’s not too obvious to most of the party because I hit it before the mob has peeled away from the tank to hunt me down.

Then, on the last pull before the first boss, things went haywire. This time when the dragon rider (after the dragon was dead) turned to me, I faded. But I pulled threat again shortly after Fade wore off and all I could do was watch as the vykrul turned and ran at me. I’m pretty sure all I was thinking was “please taunt, please taunt”. The vykrul came right up to me, raised his axe and hit me – just once – before I see the !!! (imagine the taunt animation there) and he turns around to run back to the tank.

I survived that one hit. But it was close.

During the trash to Ick and Krick I ended up tanking a geist mob at one point when Fade was on cooldown. And died. I was actually a little embarrassed. I wasn’t trying to pull threat.

“Sorry I used to talent into reduced threat before 3.3. I miss it.”

It’s true. For the tail end of Trial of the Crusader I had a couple points in Shadow Affinity in the hopes that the reduced threat would let me get away with slightly earlier DPS on the Anub’arak spider adds. Had I become too used to playing with that extra safety net? It’s true, I have been relying on Fade more and more in instances…

After Ick was dead we cleared the mobs up to the gauntlet. I was doing my best to kill those Deathbringers ASAP but I’m not entirely sure what the rest of the group was doing. Fortunately the healer had my back (and I was pretty careful to keep up Power Word: Shield too) because I ate at least five or six Shadow Bolts before I could kill it.

I died again in the gauntlet. I thought I was playing it pretty safe by waiting until we were at the midway point and using Fade right before I started to Mind Sear. The moment it wore off… Cassandri dead.

Nobody else in the group seemed to be having problems pulling threat. I believe the Ret Paladin did pull threat once or twice but they never seemed to die or get hurt from it.

Lying dead on the floor of the gauntlet gave me time to think. That incident right before the first boss, where I took just one mighty hit before a taunt, was that intentional? A warning? Was the tank trying to teach me a lesson?

Hey, next time you pull, I won’t taunt at all.

Definitely explains my geist death. I doubt the guantlet death was intentional, I died so fast.

I don’t blame the tank for his thinking either. It’s the kind of thing I might do if I’m healing and I see someone standing in a fire, or, one of my personal favourites, standing in the ice to loot Mage-Lord Urom’s body during Oculus.

But I wasn’t trying to be difficult. I wasn’t picking some stray target out of the pack and focus firing on it. I wasn’t disregarding a kill order or raid symbols (because none were used). I was DPSing Shadow Priest style – which kind of means damage on all targets all the time. It’s kind of how we work.

Heck even Ghostcrawler kind of gave us some learn-to-play attitude over the matter of dungeon DPSing in our Q&A:

… there is an issue of player skill here too. If your group kills the skull first every time, then maybe you want to DoT the third or fourth mob in the group so that you do have the benefit of time elapsing. DoTs just work differently.

Furthermore I was using Fade as much as I could to keep the mobs right there on the tank. Perhaps I could have stopped DPS when I was getting close to pulling, and I did do that a few times during the run. But I can’t cancel my DoTs. Even when I stop casting direct damage spells there’s not much else I can do.

Fortunately for me, while the tank was trying to teach me a lesson the healer had my back. Thank god for that Holy Pally. Otherwise I think I might have died many more times than the two times that I did.

So to the tank that was trying to teach me a lesson: I know I pulled threat. I know that pulling a mob off you can get me killed. I know that makes me a bad DPS. But I really did try to drop threat when I could and beyond that there’s just not much more I can do.

The next time I’m going to heal though, I’m going to endeavor to be more like the I’ve-got-your-back healer from the party and cut the DPS members some slack. Perhaps the real lesson learned was given by the Holy Paladin, and not the Prot Paladin.

Oh yeah, still no trinket.

15 Responses to “Learning the Wrong Lesson”

  1. JyororeNo Gravatar says

    I usually run as a tank or a healer in my runs, just because I don’t like waiting 20 minutes for 5 characters. So that may make me a little bias here but…

    Honestly I think if your tanking or healing an instance and something drops for not the spec you are currently playing, You can need it. Sometimes if something drops for specs I don’t really play, like anything but holy on my paladin, I’ll make sure no one else is needing for their mainspec before I need for my offspec.

    Most groups I’ve had have been pretty understanding when people need things for specs they are not playing in the group. If someone is needing for mainset though make sure you say something, if you get it and drop group they just think your a ninja…
    .-= Jyorore’s last blog … Tanks & Healers Do Not Deserve Extra Rewards =-.

  2. benNo Gravatar says

    This is why I glyph Dispersion, having it off cooldown after a little more than a minute means I can pretty much always use it to escape a painful death. It’s also a bit of a gentle nudge for the tank to do his job and to take aggro away from me. And the mana regen helps a bit too!

  3. Normally I distribute glares to aggroing DPS, but I give a little more leeway to afflocks and spriests due to the nature of DoTs.

    One of the things I love about being a Disc Priest is Pain Suppression. Sometimes, if I’m sure it won’t be needed on the tank, I’ll use it on high threat DPS if I see their threat climbing too high. It would be nice to see more healer abilities like that!
    .-= Miss Medicina’s last blog … Life of a Chinese Gold Farmer =-.

  4. DPS who pull off me don’t die. I might let them sweat for a bit, but I always get my mob back. DPS who pull FOR me? I pull out my picnic basket and /popcorn.
    .-= The Renaissance Man’s last blog … Sorry Rhidach, but… GREAT NEWS EVERYBODY! =-.

  5. TamNo Gravatar says

    Ouch, it’s weird to see this from the other perspective – although it strikes me that it’s counter-productive for the tank and healer to be pulling on different directions on this. I’ve been in runs where the tank decided to “punish” wayward DPS and since I’ll always give people the benefit of the doubt before I start arbitrarily deciding someone doesn’t ‘deserve’ healing and what happens is:

    1) DPS rips aggro
    2) I throw some heals
    3) Tank gets on high horse
    4) I fling loads of heals
    5) DPS naturally uses aggro-reduction skills
    6) The mobs spot me and start licking their lips
    7) I die

    Needless to say, this isn’t something to blame the DPS over – everybody rips aggro occasionally, it’s only the people when people wantonly don’t give a shit about it that tanks and healers are justified in “punishing.”
    .-= Tam’s last blog … Always Believe In Your Soul =-.

  6. NatarumahNo Gravatar says

    I also have noticed a large increase in threat – largely due to our DPS scaling much better with haste now. I get more tank warnings too than before, and Hand of Salvations on critical fights.

    Very soon itemization will be so good for us we need to spec into a combined 54%+ threat reduction again, just to pull it off.

    I am actually looking forward to that! *evil grin*
    .-= Natarumah’s last blog … Goodies for shades – ICC10 =-.

  7. GuinnynNo Gravatar says

    Cassandri, I play mostly as healer, and I really tend to watch who’s pulling aggro (thanks to vuhdo and its red arrows of “IT WAS HIM, I SWEAR!”. ^_^). At the start of any run, I notice who’s pulling aggro often or not. I like to give a warning of “Hey, man, you’re pulling too much aggro, slow down…”. If I get a good answer, even if the dps still fails at not pullilng, I just smile and keep doing what I do best. But I’ve got also nasty answers. To those (and the ones who just don’t answer and keep humping the damage meters), I just *shrug* on party chat, and ignore his health frame for the rest of the run. Usually it takes a couple of pulls and near-deaths for them to realize that they got the healer pissed – and that’s NEVER a good thing to do. :)

    Besides, I’ve read this creed somewhere, and it makes so much sense I take it to heart (not to the letter, mind you ^_^):
    “If the tank dies, it’s the healer’s fault;
    if the healer dies, it’s the tank fault;
    if the dps die, IT’S THEIR OWN DAMN FAULT!”

    I try my best to keep everyone alive and goin, because I too want a fast, clean run anywhere I get into. But if the DPS play stupid, I let them die. If they complain, I just “*shrug* You pulled aggro. You should know better.” and go on. Never got kicked of a group because of that. Nor, thanks heavens, got complaints from any tanks I got with. :)

    And I still think that DPS Meter humpers deverve to go to that special hell reserved for child molesters and people who talk during movies. :)

  8. CokesNo Gravatar says

    Aww Casandri, it does sound as if you’re truly and honestly trying not to pull threat, and for that I applaud you. I can tell you that from where I’m tanking, too often have I found players who don’t give a rat’s ass about their threat and expect the tank to keep aggro no matter what. I must admit that I have, on multiple occasions, refused to taunt a mob that a dps has pulled aggro on(off?) just to “teach them a lesson”.

    Assuming your tank did not use marking, I would have one suggestion though. Especially on AOE packs, I would assist another dps and not the tank if you want to focus fire down a target. Melee is usually a good choice since they don’t benefit as much from switching targets. I know not all tanks tank the same way, and some may even argue that what I’m about to say is not a good idea, but when I tank AOE packs on my warrior, I switch targets like crazy. I try to spread my threat out between the mobs evenly because I’m expecting the dps to AOE and not focus fire. If I realize they are focusing on one target, I can usually taunt of pretty quick.

    But its really hard if you focus down one target till you pull aggro, then switch to another and pull aggro on that one. If you pull aggro, don’t switch targets please!

  9. RadesNo Gravatar says

    As a resto druid, I find this ironic. Sometimes I want to let a DPS members know that I’m not pleased with them pulling threat constantly (aka, let them die)…and then I toss a Wild Growth to top up the tank & melee, and it heals the entire party, defeating my intent and making me grumble.

    In regards to your situation though, if I saw a DPS actively taking their threat prevention steps (feign death, invis/ice block, fade, etc) that is more than enough to keep them out of my no-heals list. If they’re trying to be responsible, I’ll gladly keep them alive.

    Also, I don’t even know if I’ve ever ran with a shadow priest, but I had no idea how they operate. Now if I group with one in the future I’ll be more forgiving of aggro issues. :)

  10. I will say that as I get better geared, the heroics are kind of nudging me into bad habits. I get a bit of aggro? Big deal, I have 21k health and a boatload of armor. Unless it’s a boss or miniboss, I can pretty much survive anything.

    UNLESS, it’s the new (ICC) content, or a lesser geared tank, THEN I sometimes take a dirt nap or two.

    I honestly do NOT try to get aggro, and i *do* take active steps to minimize it: I use Hand of slavation and I stop attacking. (the only 2 tools I know of -yes, there’s another bubble I can use, but that’s an “OH SHIT!”, not an aggro dump, IMHO)

    For the most part, tanks and healers have not made any issue out of it. Mainly, I assume, BECAUSE I do try to mitigate. (HoS and stopping attacking work, but they are piss poor aggro dumps) I make sure to thank the healer (if they are healing me) and the tank for putting up with me. Usually I get the “np, good DPS makes this run that much faster” and that’s the end of it.

    As much as I bitch about the LFG/LFD tool, honestly most runs are uneventful.
    .-= SlikRX/Balthazario’s last blog … Reflections of… the Way Halls Could Be =-.

  11. ThisiusNo Gravatar says

    I’ve read your blog for a good long time and this is the first time I’ve ever commented on a post. Great article as always.

    My main is a lock and I’ve been vote kicked once. They weren’t forthcoming as to why but I can only assume it was for pulling threat.

    Now there where things I could have been doing to not pull threat as much, but I do feel bad for all warlocks out there who have to dps and worry about threat.

    I think there are lessons here for everyone in the lfg tool. DPS watch your aggro, and warriors make sure to put vigilance on shadow priests or warlocks!

  12. GitarooNo Gravatar says

    It doesn’t sound like he was trying to teach you a lesson, it just sounds like he’s a bad tank. Unless the packs are > 5 mobs then keeping aggro on everything is usually pretty straight forward and a dot or two on the non-nuke targets shouldn’t even come close too pulling aggro.

    • CassandriNo Gravatar says

      @Gitaroo It was the timing of his taunts that made me feel like he was intentionally letting me take one hit (feeling the pain) before saving me from death. I pull a lot of DPS and threat in Pit of Saron – the tanks are just the right gear level for the instance and I’m a fair bit past it. So it’s not uncommon to find myself with a tank struggling to hold threat off me. So I can’t make any assumptions about the skill of his tanking.

      My DoTs minus my two direct casts is very close to the full power of my damage and TPS (threat per second) of my single target DPS.

  13. TalNo Gravatar says

    I run as a warrior tank as my main. If that tank couldn’t keep ahead of a geared Shadow Priest on just two mobs it was his fault you pulled aggro. I regularly run heroics with two warlocks and a shadow priest. I RARELY have trouble with the DoTs pulling a mob off me.

    You were fine.
    Shalandrax on Stormrage
    .-= Tal’s last blog … Upcoming Changes =-.

  14. MarlerNo Gravatar says

    =) As a tank I love this artice. I’m just a prot pally, and the class I have most aggro conflicts with is a shadow priest. Just typically like every other tank, if a DPS pulls and it was not ordered by me, that means he tanks. But if I’m pulling, it means I will have to do everything in order to save that DPS’ life. Losing a mob means I need to use all my cooldowns during the run, BoP the DPS’er, taunt, taunt, occasional yelling to my computer etc etc, but I will save that person’s life.

    I know priests rely on dps’ing multiple targets with high aggro, but that just means I have to change my rotations. :)


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